Pictures of the Top 10 Rams in week 2, according to their Pro Football Focus player grade.
1. RB Charles Sims
Doug Martin didn't practice on Wednesday, and it appears unlikely that the Buccaneers will have their Pro Bowl running back available on Sunday when the Bucs host the Rams. If Martin isn't able to go, Sims will likely step in and handle the majority of the Bucs' carries. Sims has thrived as a third down back, and is more than capable of handling the increased workload, according to Head Coach Dirk Koetter. The Buccaneers struggled to establish the running game in Week 2, picking up just 85 total rushing yards. Tampa Bay needs an improved performance running the football this week, and Sims will play a key part in whether or not they can accomplish that.
2. WR Vincent Jackson
Jackson has admittedly gotten off to a slower start that he would have liked this season, catching just six balls for 62 yards through two games. While he and Jameis Winston have struggled to connect, Mike Evans has flourished, catching 11 passes for 169 yards and two touchdowns. As Evans continues to perform at a high level, he will command more and more attention from opposing defenses. Week 3 could be the week that Jackson comes on strong should Evans be double-covered.
A look back at all of the match-ups between the Buccaneers and the Rams.
- G Ali Marpet**
Marpet faces one of the league's best defensive tackles every day in practice when he matches up against Gerald McCoy. But he will have his hands full on Sunday when he squares up with Los Angeles' Pro Bowl defensive tackle, Aaron Donald. Marpet has proven to be a consistent run-blocker, and as he gains more experience he has steadily improved in pass protection. Keep an eye on how Marpet holds up against Donald.
4. LB Lavonte David
The Buccaneers' linebackers put together an impressive performance against the Falcons in Week 1, but the group took a step back against Arizona last Sunday. David failed to record a tackle while the Buccaneers surrendered 40 points. David, the Bucs' leading tackler for the past four years, will be largely responsible for slowing down one of the NFL's best running backs in Todd Gurley. It's safe to assume he won't finish a second week in a row without picking up a stop.
5. LB Kwon Alexander
Through two weeks, Alexander is the NFL's leader in tackles and solo tackles. And like David, he will be tasked with slowing down Gurley. The Rams' offense has struggled in the first two weeks of the season, failing to score a touchdown in either of their first two games. If David and Alexander can keep Gurley in check, the Buccaneers' defense will be in good shape.